Wedged vs claw AIWB: How a little tweak can up your CC game

Adding a small tweak to your AIWB rig like a wedge, left, or claw, right, can elevate your concealment. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Appendix inside-the-waistband carry is enjoying a bit of popularity recently as more gun owners turn to the carry method to conceal their gun. With wearer’s sporting their pistol front and center, how do AIWB’ers prevent printing and stealthily hide their gun? The secret is in the claw or wedge.

The Wedge

Usually constructed from some sort of closed cell foam, the wedge gains its unique powers from its ability to be match to what the user needs. Added to the holster, the wedge is placed so that it conforms to the individual’s body shape. Once in place using either glue or Velcro, depending on the set-up, a wedge pushes against the wearer’s body to naturally angle the muzzle of the gun out and, in turn, cause the butt of the gun to rest inward towards the body.

The author created her own wedge design using a gel shoe insert and Velcro. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Though consumers can purchase aftermarket wedge kits, usually retailing for under $10, another perk to the wedge is that its inexpensive to make if DIY is your calling. Using closed cell foam – usually found in camping mats and kid’s play foam blocks — or even gel shoe inserts and a little glue or Velcro, AIWB wedgers can make their own wedge to achieve better concealment with their favorite AIWB rigs.

The Claw

The claw design is an integrated one, usually accompanying a holster at the time of purchase. The claw, attached to the side of the holster under the pistol’s grip, possess the same intent of a wedge but accomplishes in a slightly different way. While the wedge uses the wearer’s body to angle the gun, the claw uses the belt. Pushing against the gun belt, a claw AIWB rotates the gun and holster so that the grip of the gun pulls towards the body.

A claw, seen on the Dark Star Gear Orion holster, offers an integrated means of angling the grip towards the body. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

There aren’t as many aftermarket claws floating around, as most ship alongside a specific holster. DIY isn’t really an option here either; but where the claw shines is that it’s a no muss/no fuss design. Where a wedged creation might wear down over time, eventually compressing and needing a replacement, the claw – made of the same material as the holster – should hold up long term.


The most common complaint out of concealed carriers is printing. How do we keep the gun successfully concealed without printing? In the case of appendix carry, body type plays a factor in the case of printing; however, a wedge or claw can rectify nearly any AIWB printing situation with ease. The greatest advantage to the claw or wedge is its angling of the gun. Whether that’s by using a wearer’s lumps and body bumps to its advantage to push the muzzle out, in the case of the wedge, or rotating the gun’s grip inward by pushing against the belt, in the case of the claw, both designs achieve similar results in terms of concealment.

The addition of a wedge or claw can help gun owners, especially those who are petite, conceal much easier in regular, day-to-day clothes. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

The addition of a claw or wedge into AIWB practically eliminates the printing dilemma — even for petite AIWB fans. A wedge or claw also opens the door for more carry options, permitting users to expand their arsenal to larger subcompacts such as the Glock 19.

Final Thoughts

The simple addition of a claw or wedge onto an AIWB holster expands concealed carrier’s options while introducing more concealment into the AIWB equation. Whether concealed carriers choose to DIY with a wedge or purchase a ready-made claw holster, the two devices make concealment in the appendix position readily accessible to more gun owners.

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